Well, it’s November 2016 and as winter flooding and severe gales sweep across Britain, we are showing our true Yorkshire grit and resilience by joining the prestigious Wedding Industry Awards for a third year in a row. Continue reading
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a wedding band; life is certainly never dull! 2015 saw us perform a diary-busting 75 weddings, zooming off in all directions of the United Kingdom. Marriage is most definitely soaring in its popularity and with this, the demand for couples to think outside the box when putting their own stamp on their big day. The desire for complete originality has resulted in a new trend which has seen Rock My Reception pack our bags/instruments and hit the skies for the ultimate wedding experience: the Destination Wedding.
Hey jude Continue reading
Last Wednesday we flew out to Croatia, to the Old Town area of Dubrovnik, to provide the sound track to the day for Natasha and Brett, the new Mr and Mrs Ince.
We offered to play stripped back… purely acoustic, adding to the vibe of the day, which was laid back, relaxed with a real summery feel.
Planning a wedding anywhere in the world can be a stressful experience, but Natasha and Brett were fortunate to instruct Iva Hrdlicka from dubrovnikevent.com one of Croatia’s top Events Designers to help plan the day. We liaised with Iva over email and the phone. The simplicity of our acoustic package meant we could fulfil the needs of our bride and groom- to be ‘on hand’ all day, providing live music at any point, either indoors or outside. Iva was fantastic at precision planning the logistics for the day and gave us complete confidence to know the proceedings would run smoothly, providing us with accurate details in the lead up to the wedding, when we were over 1500 miles away.
We arrived in Dubrovnic the day before the wedding, giving us the chance to immediately make a reconnaissance of the venue. It became easy to see why Natasha and Brett chose Dubrovnik for their wedding location. As the temperature soared to 30 degrees, we got see the town in all its splendour. A short walk from the venue we headed down the narrow streets towards the pedestrianised Stradun where the pavements shone bright in the sun, polished to a smooth finish from the constant movement of the many tourists. A joyous vibrancy of all kinds of art forms and culture met you at every turn, from art galleries and museums to open air music and theatre.
The streets were lined with shops and restaurants, architecture, a mix of Renaissance and Baroque. The jewel of the town though was without doubt was Sponza Palace, where we were to be performing during the wedding ceremony.
Come the big day we made our way to the open air hall of Sponza Palace for the ceremony. We had been asked to accompany one of Natasha’s friends, Carly, in a rendition of ‘This Is Us’ by Keisha Cole. With a quick rehearsal in one of the Palaces side rooms, we had the song in the bag with no problems. We accompanied a local pianist and cellist for the Brides entrance song. The ceremony couldn’t have been more perfect. Natasha looked stunning in her dress and a beautiful reading from Natasha’s sister, Lexi: a lovely touch to the ceremony. For the recessional piece Natasha had asked us to perform ‘Adorn You’ by Miguel.
We took requests and chatted to the guests during the drinks reception in the open air courtyard of the palace, the acoustic guitars and vocals echoing off the limestone walls into the open warm air above us, setting the tone for the day.
We followed the wedding party through the picturesque streets as the sun blazed down from the glorious blue sky. We boarded the boat which was to take guests on a cruise of the Dubrovnik coastline. Positioning ourselves at the bow of the boat we did suddenly feel ourselves reminiscent of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ video!
There are certain stand out moments which occur in your life and this, for us, was certainly one of those: taking requests from a bride and groom and their guests, playing on board a boat sailing on the clear blue Adriatic Sea. As we past the picturesque coves and beeches, the music and atmosphere carried across the water as sun bathers and tourists clapped and cheered the newly weds as we passed by.
The evening reception was held at the Grand Villa Argentina, a Twentieth century mansion, positioned on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Adriatic. We played in the garden alongside the private beech and saltwater pool for the Champagne welcome drinks. As the sun set in the West over the sea, the newly weds were showered in confetti as we the guests joined in our acoustic version of Teenage Wedding by Chuck Berry.
Iva, Marin and the staff at the Grand Villa Argentina were incredibly friendly and helpful, guiding us to where we would need to be for the various parts of the proceedings for the commencing evening reception.
As Natasha and Brett where welcomed into the room for the evening, we followed them in playing ‘All You Need Is Love’ as they took to there seats. The speeches followed and on to the wedding meal.
After the meal and toasts Natasha had a surprise for all the guests. The lyrics to Queens Bohemien Rhapsody were handed out to everyone, we had been previously briefed to play along with the track as all the guests stood up on there seats for a sing along, climaxing in an air guitar solo by all the groomsmen! The staff and waiters all spontaneously joined in… an absolutely fantastic way to end our day.
It was a joyous experience to play for Natasha and Brett. Not only was it a pleasure for us to perform at one of the most stunningly beautiful locations, but the whole party embraced the day with such gusto.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Brett and Natasha for booking Rock My Reception for their wedding and wish them both a long and very happy future together.
Sunday 29th May 2016
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the years of playing in Rock My Reception: it certainly improves your geography! During May 2016 we had travelled as far north as Bathgate in Scotland to Cambridgeshire with plenty of weddings at locations in between. For our final engagement of the month we were concluding a three day consecutive weekend of weddings with a full day reception for Jenny and Adrian Chatterton-Whipps in the picturesque setting of the Lose Hill Hotel situated right in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District.
The Lose Hill Hotel is one the Peak Districts best kept secrets. Hidden at the end of a small and leafy country lane, this 1914 arts and crafts gem has been converted into a luxurious, 23 bedroom hotel and spa. Equidistant from the wonderful villages of Castleton, Edale and Hope, the venue boasts some of the most breathtaking views with its grandiose backdrop of Win Hill.
After the weather so far this year had been somewhat erratic it was anyone’s guess as to what the elements would throw at the proceedings, however as luck would have it, glorious sunshine prevailed and remained for the duration of the day.
As we waited for guests to arrive we chatted to Adrian, who unlike many grooms, seemed completely unfased and relaxed! As the ceremony room was relatively small we played some gentle ballads such as Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles and Your Song by Elton John whilst waiting for the ceremony to proceed, also including some light instrumental music. As Jenny made her magnificent entrance with her father to a recording of Handel’s Water Music no.2.
One of the great features of today’s wedding ceremonies is that, like all other aspects of the day, you pretty much tailor-make the occasion to your own tastes and requirements. This can result in the ceremony having more meaning, warmth and romance. The two beautiful readings from Jenny and Adrian’s guests were are a real case in point.
As the ceremony was brought to a close we struck up with ‘All You Need Is Love’ and the congregation made their way to the Hotel’s gardens for drinks and canapés. We played a selection of requests from guests who were brilliantly forthcoming and suggested songs from Simon and Garfunkel and The Rolling Stones. The whole location leant itself beautifully to the purpose of getting the perfect wedding photographs and special credit must go to Tim Hensel the photographer who’s enthusiasm and warmth really came across when calling and arranging the different guests for group shots. Some of the shots we’ve already seen are incredible and later on in the evening Tim even used smoke bombs to give the Bride and Groom shots are dramatic effect!
Jenny and Adrian had both chosen Coldplay’s Sky Full Of Stars as their first dance to be played acoustically. A brilliant choice for us as we’d never played it as a first dance before and another example of how you can really make elements of your wedding bespoke. Their guests were also some of the most energetic we’ve played to and a real range of ages from children to Grandparents. Rock My Reception also offer a DJ service, which comprised of the final couple of hours of the evening. This is where the couple and their guests get free-reign on the playlist for the night. Big thanks must go particularly to Adrian and to guest, Laura McKeown who provided us with an endless variety of requests ranging from The Killers and Take That to Fat Boy Slim and definitely a first for us: the theme to Baywatch which brought the house down!!!
Inevitably, the time of the night arrived whereby we had to play one more tune before the curfew. It had to be Oasis’s anthemic Don’t Look Back In Anger whereby we went back to acoustic and joined in with the guests gathered in a circle singing wildly all hand in hand. The perfect end to the perfect wedding.
Thank you to all the staff at Lose Hill who were so hard working professional and charming. Tim Hensel of Tim Hensel Photography who was a delight to chat to during our break and most importantly to Adrian and Jenny: thank you so much for your hospitality and for booking us to perform for your wedding day. It was a pleasure and myself and Kieran wish you both our best wishes for a long and happy future together.
Having Rock My Reception DJ for your wedding couldn’t be easier. Either email us a list of songs to play before the date, or leave it up to us to judge the crowd on the night… and just like out live sets… we always welcome song requests!!!!
Here is a typical dj set from Rock My Reception…
- i gotta feeling, black eyed peas
- uptown funk, bruno mars
- jump around, house of pain
- gangsta trippin, fatboy slim
- thriller, michael jackson
- walk this way, aerosmith/run dmc
- crazy in love, beyonce/jay z
- dee lire, groove armada
- hips don’t lie, shakira
- we don’t speal no Americano
- we found love, rhianna
- hey ya, out cast
- love shack, b52s
- yeah, usher
- come on Eileen, dexys
- ice ice baby, vanilla ice
- ebaneezer good, shamen
- u can’t touch this, mc hammer
- return of the mac, mark morisson
- gold digger, kanye west
- poker face, lady gaga
- buffaloe stance, nenah cherry
- I think were alone now, tiffany
- abc, jackson 5
- relight my fire, take that
- wanna dance with somebody, whitney Houston
- push it, salt and pepper
- sexy and I know it, lmfao
- lucky, pharrell
- rock dj, robbie Williams
- respect, aretha franklin
- build me up buttercup
- year 2000, pulp
- bet you look good on the dance floor, artic monkees
- valerie, mark ronson
- single ladies, beyonce
- its not unusual, tom jones
- rock around the clock, bill Hayley
- summer of 69, bryan adams
- dirty, christina aguelera
- rather be, clean bandit
- dancing in the moonlight, toploader
- lets dance, bowie
- let it go, frozen
- 9-5, dolly parton
- rio, durran durran
- little less conversation elvis/jxl
- lo, flo rida
- love machine, girl aloud
- I see you baby, groove amarda
- I like the way you move, body rockers
- are you gonna be my girl, jet
- saturday night, whigfield
- kinky afro, happy Mondays
- here comes the hotstepper, ina kamozi
- you sexy thing, hot chocolate
- I am the one and only, Chesney hawkes
- don’t feel like dancing, sissor sisters
- born slippy, underworld
- iggy pop, lust for life
- little respect, erasure
- jess glynn
- makes you beautiful 1d
- ruby ruby, kaiser chiefs
- walking on sunshine, catrina and the waves
- right here right now, fatboy slim
- maccerena, los del rio
- cha cha slide, dj casper
- in da club, 50 cent
- wake me up, 50 cent
- bills, lunch money lewis
- moves like hjagger, maroon 5
- beat it, Michael Jackson
- reach for the stars, s club 7
- rock the casbah, the clash
- mr Brightside, the killers
- i can’t feel my face, the weekend
- unberlevable emf
- disey, vic reeves
- lets get ready to rumble, pj and Duncan
- tainted love, soft cell
- get jiggy with it, will smith
- you got the love, candi staton
- let there be love, nat king cole
As we finally reach the tail end of our mammoth summer tour of wedding’s, Rock My Reception returns to one of the first venues we began this epic trip with, back in May at the North Snowdonian venue of Hafod Farm. With it’s stunning scenery, the charm of a tastefully converted 16th century farm buildings along with friendly, hardworking and accommodating staff, Hafod Farm ticks all boxes for the perfect country wedding.
Today we were booked for Anna and Ali’s night reception and had been given a list of songs to choose at our discretion. They had their ceremony earlier that day at a church some 45 minutes away and the afternoon/evening reception was a relaxed occasion befitting the whole ambience of Hafod Farm. A Fish and Chip van supplied some fine food for the guests. Weddings are often a whole day of perfect moments you can capture in photo’s or just simply your minds eye. On our approach to the venue we saw guests chatting happily, bridesmaids running over to stroke an excited dog who was also enjoying the day! The whole relaxed atmosphere as the sun set over the hills of Conwy was one of those very moments you’d want to bottle and keep forever.
Anna and Ali had chosen U2’s ‘One’ as a first dance and because of the local councils insistence on unamplified music we played, literally, unplugged; one of the benefits of being an acoustic outfit. The owners of Haford Farm, Pete and Jo, had worked tirelessly at the venture and were in the process of installing noise limiters to ensure the noise of any entertainment shouldn’t exceed the acceptable levels dictated to by the council. A difficult line to tow when a local farm tries to diversify and provide a profitable local business to the area, yet are faced with the inevitable obstacles. Jo and Pete certainly try their best to placate the council without compromising the enjoyment of the couple and their guests.
On both occasions we have had the pleasure of playing at Hafod Farm the ambience and party atmosphere had always had a campfire-style rustic quality which makes a change from the usual ear-drum bursting beats of a DJ set some weddings opt for.
Not only were Anna and Ali a charming and friendly couple who’s hospitality knew no bounds; we were looked after, fed and watered with abundance! Their guests were also delightfully forthcoming with their song requests and were joyously dancing to our songs.
We’d like to thank Anna, Ali and their guests for being such a delight to play for and also to Jo and Pete for having us play at their wonderful venue.
One of the questions we often get asked is ‘do you ever play midweek weddings?’, to which the answer would be ‘Yes, of course- we’ll gladly play Monday to Friday!’. Of course the number of bookings we actually get for Monday to Thursday weddings are significantly smaller than Friday to Sunday bookings as they have the obvious benefits of guests not having to work the next day and people generally being able to let their hair down more. However, midweek weddings do have their advantages, particularly when it comes to price reduction and with a bit of forward planning, a good old knees-up can still be had. On Tuesday May 26th 2015 at Harewood House on the outskirts of Leeds was the perfect case in point.
Yes, Tuesday may seem to be an unusual day to have a wedding ceremony and reception, but that didn’t stop the sun from coming out in full strength (weather always being a gamble when booking a wedding). Neither did it stop the staff at Harewood House from pulling out all stops and ensuring everything went running smoothly for the couples big day. We have had the pleasure of playing at a wedding ceremony in the grounds of Harewood House before and on both occasions the sun shone down into the beautiful Grade I listed courtyard making it the perfect setting for guests to enjoy their evening drinks basking in the warmth of the springtime sun. Although having set up our lighting and sound equipment in one of the surrounding banqueting rooms, to play for guests in this majestic backdrop was an opportunity not to be missed, so we set up between some of the courtyards fine Corinthian Columns and played a half hour set while guests chatted and helped themselves to crepes from the vintage crepe van parked at the far side of the courtyard.
It was also a pleasure for us to meet up with a previous Groom who’s wedding reception we had played at in East Keswick, who was here today in the role of wedding film and photographer. As we played in the evening sunlight he’d captured some excellent footage of the children dancing to our rendition of Jessie Jays ‘Price Tag’.
As the sun finally dropped lower onto the horizon we made our way into the banqueting suite: a spacious room complete with original oak beams, capable of accommodating 120 guests and perfect for the evening dance.The first dance chosen was The Waterboys beautiful ‘How long will I love you?’, recently covered by Taylor Swift, as their first dance and the whole floor was filled with guests who joined along in dancing along with them bride and groom, who had also come up the fantastic idea of printing menus with our song lists on so that guests could pick and choose their favourite songs to played and request them to us. We also had the pleasure of one guest coming up to sing with us her beautiful rendition of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.
We took a brief break for the buffet and played background music from our DJ booth. Very soon we were back on and people were dancing right up until midnight! Some of the guests had even come from as far as Plymouth and were particularly impressed by our Oasis back-catalogue! When asked if we’d like to play at their wedding when they’d set a date we readily agreed and told them that distance was certainly not an issue!
Happy couple and their guests alike, proved that a midweek wedding certainly can be just as romantic and a joyous occasion as any weekend ceremony.
Being a travelling wedding band we get to see a rich variety of wedding venues around the country, from grand stately homes to the cosy working men’s club function room: we’ve played the lot! We’ve also played them in all seasons this frequently rain-sodden country has to offer, often adapting accordingly, rushing in from the elements to set up and play in the snug warmth for a fireside singalong.
Cubley Hall in Penistone is one of the venues we’ve had the fortune of playing several wedding events throughout the years, although never for an outdoor event. This was to be rectified for the beautifully resplendent summer wedding ceremony of happy couple Mathew and Katie Walker in Cubley Hall’s gardens.
It was Saturday 27th June 2015 and luck was on everyone’s side in Penistone as today it was decreed that the British summer would prove it possible to provide temperatures comparable with the Meditteranian . Although the day started off slightly breezy, Cubley Hall’s grand Garden Pavillion was in readiness for the couple to exchange their vows, already adorned with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We arranged ourselves at the side of the Pavillion so that we could be heard, but positioned inconspicuously to the side of the proceedings; we always think it important that the main focus of attention, especially for the ceremony, should be the proceedings with the Bride and Groom. We aim to be heard, but our presence, unless requested otherwise, should be on the periphery.
As guests were arriving, we not only played a selection of songs like ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and the requested ‘Songbird’ by Oasis, but also utilised the Ukelele for songs like ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ and ‘It must be love’. The Ukelele has Hawaiian roots, therefore embellishing the already summery feel to the afternoon. It was now time for Katie to make her grand entrance; and how stunning she looked as she made her way down the lawn towards the Pavillion to the strains of Snow Patrols ‘Chasing Cars’, the backdrop of the scenic Peak District countryside glowing in the sunshine. Being Indie music fans, Mathew and Katie had asked for a rendition of Wonderwall to played as opposed to a formal reading. Many times a song can be just as pertinent and meaningful as a piece of poetry, prose or speech. Say it all with a song.
As the newly wedded Mr and Mrs Walker made their way down the steps of the Pavillion to grab a glass of champagne we played The Stone Roses ‘Sally Cinnamon’, carrying on to play to the guests who were basking in the glorious sunshine and continued to do so whilst Mathew and Katie were driven by the photographer to Langsett Reservoir for some stunning wedding photos to be taken: When gifted with the amazing rolling countryside setting that South Yorkshire has to offer, it’s vital to grab it with both hands!
Note to anyone who, like myself may not have the same follicular coverage as it may have done 20 years earlier, when attending a blistering summer wedding: Wear a hat!
At 4:30pm we all made our way to Cubley Halls barn dining area, complete with stone floors, high ceilings and oak beams. Having both played at this venue in winter and summer months we can say that it is perfect for all seasons: in the winter month’s it is warm, cosy and has a truly festive air about the place. In summer, the barn is well ventilated and not stifling as some venues can be, especially at meal times. Katie and Mathew had even offered us and the photographer a carvery meal which we greatly appreciated after our wedding breakfast set. Katie’s fathers speech was brilliant, warm and he gently poked fun at Mathews support of Barnsley FC! He even thanked us during his speech- completely unexpected, unnecessary but again, appreciated.
As ourselves and Greg the DJ set up for the evening we agreed to play for 2 hours solidly from 8:30pm to 10:30pm a let him take over the DJ set immediately after us. Mathew and Katie took to the floor to play their first dance ‘Everlong’ by The Foofighters. This was the second time we’d played this song as a first dance in a fortnight and I hope we get asked for it again soon as it’s a superb track to play acoustically.
Mathew and Katie’s guests were fantastic and really gave it their all on the dance floor. The atmosphere of the whole day was incredible and all their guests got into the spirit by having their photos taken in the fancy dress van later!
We would both like to take this opportunity to thank Mathew and Katie for asking us to rock their reception and wish them both a great honeymoon and a happy future together as Mr and Mrs Walker.
July 2015 is here. So far the British Summer has been throwing at us temperatures of 36 degrees during the day, and lightning and thunderstorms of biblical proportions at night, in equal measure. For Rock My Reception the wedding season has truly begun, in earnest, as we dart our way up and down the British Isles to play wedding couple up and down the aisles!
Saturday 3rd July saw us at the wedding of Paul and Lindsey at Bowburn Hall just off the A1 in Durham, and with Lindsey’s family being Geordies (Newcastle based) and Paul’s being Mackem’s (from over the water Sunderland) we knew that this was going to be a wedding of good natured banter and a good old knees ‘up!
The wedding venue of Bowburn Hall was an easy drive from York up the A1 and nestles within 5 acres of beautiful landscape gardens. At a distance of only 2.5 miles from Durham City it is one of the areas most intimate and luxurious wedding venues, with several wedding packages on offer. We arrived in plenty of time and set up our speakers in the dining hall for the wedding breakfast set and our instruments outdoors for the wedding ceremony.
The weather outside was perfect and we were greeted by the best man-also called Paul-who had a brilliant idea for us to accompany him in his best man speech; more of which later! The registrar came over to introduce herself and told us she was from Sandal, near Wakefield: just up the road from where myself and Kieran grew up! As guests started making their way to the seating area, we were positioned to the side of the venues beautiful Pavilion where the exchanging of the vows were to take place. At one point the male registrar moved his desk into a more shaded area, revealing the female registrars handbag.
One of the guests shouted, “Oi mate, you’ve forgotten your handbag”
To which he replied, “Nah not mine- wrong Colour!”
Lindsey and Paul had chosen a great selection of Indie titles to be played for their ceremony. As musicians who grew up with the sounds of the 90’s bands ringing from our stereo’s it’s always a pleasure to play the music of our youth, especially when it’s the more obscure titles. In this case we had been requested ‘This is the one’ by The Stone Roses, Kodalines ‘The One’ and ‘Gravity’ by Embrace, ending by playing the happy couple down the aisle to The Cures ‘Fridays I’m in love’.
After we had played the ceremony we played a drinks reception in the sun drenched gardens of Bowburn Hall. Soon after, it was time for the wedding breakfast and speeches. As a break from tradition, instead of the usual Beatles ‘All you need is love’ to play as the couple are announced to take their seats for the wedding breakfast, Lindsey had specifically requested us to play Beyonce’s ‘Crazy right now’ which was a fun choice and certainly a first for us! I can honestly say everyone’s speeches were perfect and reduced the room to tears; especially brides father, Con, who brilliantly, and unintentionally, made a Freudian Slip when naming incorrectly one of the bridesmaids;
“Thankyou to Emma..”
“Oh sorry Gemma- I must’ve had my finger on your G”
Cue hysterical laughter and schoolboy giggling!
Paul described how he and Lindsay had met in Arizona: Newcastle’s finest nightclub! Best man, Paul also delivered a pitch perfect speech where he’d previously asked us to launch into the Righteous Brothers famous Top Gun hit ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ which worked brilliantly-especially when his girlfriend joined in!
Not only were treated by Paul and Lindsey to sample the fine food of Bowburn Hall, but their guests were so friendly, forthcoming and kept us on our toes with requests. We knew that the evening reception was going to be a great night as everyone joined Lindsey and Paul for their first dance song, Deacon Blue’s beautiful ‘Dignity’. Not only did everyone get up dancing, but they also knew all the words! And it didn’t stop there: guests stayed on the dance floor for the duration of our first set asking for requests-particularly from the 80’s. We eagerly obliged with tracks like Human League’s ‘Don’t you want me baby’ and Spandau Ballets ‘Gold’. The first set had gone amazingly well and the DJ had taken over whilst the buffet was being served. During the break I had the pleasure of chatting one guest who explained that he loved playing the guitar and that he’d love to play on stage but didn’t want to sing. I suggested to him that perhaps he could find someone who had an equal yearning for singing and maybe they could join forces and take to the stage together to play a few songs in one of Newcastle’s music venues.
Taking over for a second set after a DJ can sometimes be a difficult task as the drop in volume to acoustic guitars can be noticeable after the heavy bass and beats from a DJ set. However, there were no worries where Paul, Lindsey and their guests were concerned as they all flocked back to the dance floor and we had the pleasure of playing one of the very best evening sets we’ve had the pleasure to play. We even managed to get some footage of the proceedings and were asked for an enchore, as we played Hey Jude, 500 Miles and Dignity again, to equal delight from the audience.
It was a real pleasure to play for Paul, Lindsey and their guests that Saturday in July. We honestly could have carried on partying with everyone for the entire evening. It was a perfect wedding in so many ways and we wish Paul and Lindsey both a very happy future together.